Doctor Who – The Creature from the Pit. Episode Three

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Although I’ve a lot of time for Creature, it has to be said that the plot’s fairly linear.  The first three episodes revolve around identifying exactly who or what the creature is, before episode four goes off on a different tangent completely.  I guess that David Fisher didn’t believe he could eke out the mystery of the creature for all four episodes, which is fair enough.

This episode has the unforgettable sight of the Doctor attempting to communicate with the creature via various ways, some of which look rather rude.  Why Christopher Barry let this through is anybody’s guess, although I sometimes picture him up in the gallery, rather punch-drunk from the way things have gone so far ….

Torvin and the others lead a raiding party on Adrasta’s palace.  Whilst they continue to be positioned as comedy characters, especially Torvin, this sits rather uneasily with the way they casually kill Adrasta’s guards.  There’s something of an edit in the final programme – which makes their knifing less explicit – but it’s still a surprise to see a recognisable weapon used to kill (remember that whilst Leela carried a knife, over time she wasn’t allowed to use it on humanoids).

Geoffrey Bayldon continues to mine (sorry) his role for maximum comic effect.  Organon’s meeting with Adrasta isn’t terribly pleasant (she’s more than disappointed to find out that the creature hasn’t eaten him) whilst he’s less than impressed after she orders him to find out what’s happening with the creature.  Adrasta has a convincing manner about her though.  “If you don’t go, my friend, that guard standing behind you will cut your throat from ear to ear.”

It becomes clear that the raiding party existed for one reason only – to enable the bandits to pinch what turns out to be the creature’s communication device and then, via a mysterious compulsion, be forced to deliver it up to him.  This leads into an unusual cliffhanger, which sees Adrasta react in terror to the creature.

ADRASTA: Don’t let it get me. You mustn’t let that thing get me! It’ll kill me!
DOCTOR: What? An evil thing, killing. Why should it want to kill you? It didn’t want to kill me, did you, old fellow? Do you know something? I believe he wants to kill you.
ADRASTA: Keep it away from me. It’s, it’s going to eat me.
DOCTOR: Oh, come on. You know it really doesn’t eat people, don’t you? But you know what it does eat and you haven’t been letting it get any, have you. No, you just stuck it in a pit and threw people at it.

If the episode had concluded seconds earlier, then it would have ended with Adrasta holding a knife to the Doctor’s throat. That would have been a more obvious cliffhanger, as showing the villain under threat is much more uncommon although not totally unheard of (for example, episode for of The Daemons finds the Master menaced by Azal).

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